By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
So far, it’s been all Alabama in practice. The three workouts this week have been focused completely on the basics, but the Ohio State flavor is coming. The installation of the Sugar Bowl game plan will start to trickle in Friday, less than two weeks before kickoff New Year’s Day. Players had a chance to examine the film of Ohio State and had a few early impressions Thursday. Quarterback Cardale Jones was the topic of note among defensive players. Making his starting debut in the 59-0 pounding of Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, Jones’ cannon right arm was on full display.
By Cliff Kirkpatrick, Montgomery Advertiser:
Landon Collins gets one more homecoming in his Alabama football career. The junior safety Landon Collins is thrilled to be headed back to the Superdome for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 against Ohio State. He grew up in the area, and is familiar with the venue. “Totally looking forward to it because a lot of my family will be there and I get to stand out in front of them again and see them smile when they watch me play,” Collins said. Collins enjoyed his trip to Louisiana this year with an overtime victory at LSU in Baton Rouge. However, last year’s Sugar Bowl was a loss to Oklahoma.
By Ben Axelrod, Athlon Sports:
Joey Bosa still remembers his first scholarship offer. It was the summer of 2010 and the 15-year-old man-child had just wrapped up a breakthrough season at Fort Lauderdale’s storied St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Like many other elite prospects, Bosa hit the camp circuit in hopes of being noticed by college coaches. Along with his father, former Boston College star and Miami Dolphins first-round pick John Bosa, Joey headed to Tuscaloosa, Alabama—a lengthy 765 miles away from their home in South Florida. But the family trip to the Yellowhammer State proved to be well worth the distance, as Joey soon found himself face to face with the reigning national champion Crimson Tide’s head coach after an introduction that he’ll never forget.
By Ben Axelrod, Bleacher Report:
In order to make it into the first ever College Football Playoff, Ohio State first had to stop a Heisman Trophy finalist. Now to advance in it, the Buckeyes are going to need to shut down another. Limiting Melvin Gordon to 76 rushing yards in the Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State effectively brought an end to the Wisconsin running back’s Heisman chances while simultaneously clinching its spot in college football’s final four. Gordon would go on to finish second behind Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in Heisman voting, one spot ahead of the only other player invited to New York City as a finalist for college football’s most prestigious award.
By Charlie Potter, BamaOnLine:
A 10-year-old boy approached Nick Saban after this year’s A-Day game back in April and asked him “Do we have a quarterback other than Blake Sims?” Sims had just completed an underwhelming performance in Alabama’s spring game, throwing for 178 yards and two interceptions on 13-of-30 passing, with the only bright spot being a touchdown strike to wide receiver Chris Black. It wasn’t a convincing case for Saban to hand the fifth-year senior the reigns to the Crimson Tide’s offense, replacing national championship-winning quarterback AJ McCarron. But Saban held firm, telling the young boy they didn’t run plays geared toward Sims’ skillset that day and that he has “confidence (Sims) can do a lot of good things” for the team in the future.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
Day 2 of Alabama football practice is underway indoors as the return-to-camp workouts resume. They’re emphasizing the fundamentals once again as the Ohio State preparations are still a few days away. Backup offensive lineman Grant Hill was absent for a second straight day. Nick Saban said he was sick after Tuesday’s workout. Also, left tackle Cam Robinson was back for the viewing period after traffic made him late Tuesday returning from Louisiana.
When No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State square off in a College Football Playoff semifinal in New Orleans, the matchup will feature two legendary programs with identical 12-1 records this season but not much else in common. For starters, the Crimson Tide have a trusted senior quarterback in Blake Sims, who has passed for 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions and is coming off a sparkling 23-of-27 performance for 262 yards with two touchdowns and no picks against Missouri in the SEC title game. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, will once again turn to Cardale Jones after the red-shirt sophomore made his first career start against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, throwing for 257 yards and three TDs.2.
By Marq Burnett, Anniston Star:
Alabama juniors Amari Cooper and Landon Collins added more to their already impressive resumes. The duo were both named first-team All-Americans by the Football Writers of America Association, which was announced Wednesday afternoon on Sirius/XM College Sports Nation. With that, Cooper and Collins became unanimous All-Americans after being first-team selections for the FWAA, Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sporting News and American Football Coaches Association All-American teams.
By Travis Reier, BamaOnLine.com:
There are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between Paul Bryant and Nick Saban, the two greatest college football coaches of the last seven decades. Both experienced modest (at best) upbringings in rural America before making their mark in the coaching world. Both coached at another SEC school (Bryant at Kentucky, Saban at LSU) before eventually taking over the Crimson Tide. Both believed in a combination of unwavering physical and mental toughness that took root in the offseason and yielded fruit by season’s end. Both were the unquestioned leaders of the programs they oversaw. Both took Alabama football to heights no one could have imagined. So, really, while the icing may have changed over the years, the fundamental ingredients for a championship-caliber cake haven’t. As for who the better baker was/is, I find that to be more of a generational issue.